Paris, France - Video tour of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (Part 1)

Uploaded by NewYorkHabitat on 16.03.2011

New York Habitat Video
with David Hill
Saint-Germain-des-Prés - Paris, France
Hello I'm David Hill with New York Habitat.
Today we're going to visit another lively neighborhood
and a trendy place to live...
There's so much to see in this area,
this will be the 1st episode
of a three-part series dedicated to Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
So be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel
and we'll let you know when parts 2 and 3
are posted in the coming weeks.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés is located
just south of the Seine river
and west of the Latin Quarter.
It was once home to a large monastery
and a tiny market town.
It's name in French means "St Germain in the meadows"
and that was exactly where it was,
outside the city walls of Paris.
What makes Saint-Germain so popular today?
Let's take a look.
This area really does have a lively history.
By the 17th Century it boasted Molière's first theater
and the very first Comédie Française.
It became the literary and artistic center of Paris.
Begun about the year 1000,
the Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés
is the oldest existing church in Paris.
Its rounded arches, small windows
and heavy walls of the bell tower
are typical of the Romanesque style.
We see the church, but where is the monastery?
Well, during the French Revolution
the church was used as a gunpowder warehouse.
What happened next?
You guessed it -
15 tons of gunpowder exploded,
blowing the side out of the church.
All that remains now is the church itself
and the palace of the abbot.
soon became a center for artists,
intellectuals and writers.
Already in the 17th century,
the village was home to writers like Racine
and La Rochefoucault.
In the 19th century
painters like Delacroix and Manet,
as well as writers like Balzac settled here.
Benjamin Franklin and Oscar Wilde
also lived near the square.
In the 1920s,
many Americans were attracted
by the charm of the neighborhood.
Even Hemingway and his wife lived here,
as well as Henry Miller.
Later, Picasso moved here where he painted Guernica.
Life in Saint-Germain
still centers on the square in front of the church
and on 3 famous cafés nearby.
The three cafés are to the right,
on the boulevard.
Les Deux Magots,
located at 6 place de l'Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés,
is named for 2 Chinese figures on the wall inside,
left over from when the café
was once a silk merchant's shop.
When it opened,
the café was a favorite of the poets
Verlaine and Rimbaud.
In the 1930s, Picasso liked to come here.
The café was also frequented
by the existentialist philosopher
Jean Paul Sartre
and the writers Camus and Prévert.
When les Deux Magots became a favorite
of the Germans occupying Paris,
Sartre and his colleagues
abandoned it for Café de Flore
on the next block, at 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain.
The owner gave them the upstairs to sit,
write and, of course, drink coffee.
Sartre wrote his famous treatise
"Being and Nothingness"
in this very café.
The other famous drinking place
is the Brasserie Lipp,
across the street at 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain.
It was favored by the poets
André Gide and Paul Valéry in the 1920s
and it was here that Hemingway wrote
"A Farewell to Arms".
It later attracted book editors
and is now a haunt of journalists and politicians.
So take a break at any one of these cafes
to hob nob with the Parisian intellectual elite -
just be prepared to pay the 'elite' prices
to go along with the experience!
Of course, the best way hob nob
with the Parisian intellectual elite
is to live like a local
by renting a furnished apartment
in the heart of this famous neighborhood.
New York Habitat offers furnished rentals
in Saint-Germain-des-Prés
and all over Paris.
There is no better way
to experience the true flavor of Paris
than to live in a true Parisian apartment.
Once you've had an espresso and a croissant,
you'll be ready to move on
to other areas of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Our final stop in this first episode
is the Institut de France.
The Institut de France at 23 quai Conti,
with its distinctive dome
was built in the 17th century
for Louis XIV's prime minister, Mazarin.
It is now the French Institute,
the headquarters of the five French academies
of arts and sciences.
The most famous academy
is the Académie Française,
whose jurisdiction is the French language.
They are always updating the dictionary
of permissible French words and expressions.
Every year a few English words sneak in
like 'surfing' and 'chewing-gum'.
Well, I hope you've enjoyed our tour
of Saint-Germain-des-Prés -
an area where history and culture meet.
If you can think of anything we've missed,
make sure you leave a comment
in the comment section below.
Staying in an apartment is without a doubt
the best way to experience
And the best way to find a vacation rental
is to visit our website at
Wherever you decide to stay in Paris,
New York Habitat
will have the perfect apartment for you.
I'm David Hill with New York Habitat.
We hope to see you soon,
sipping coffee like a local in St-Germain-des-Prés!